The answer to this question, like so many things in kink, is it depends who you’re asking. I believe that you can be into gentle femdom and be a sadist as well, because I think that gentle femdom has more to do with attitude than activities.
I believe that you can be into gentle femdom and be a sadist as well, because I think that gentle femdom has more to do with attitude than activities.
I do think there are certain sadistic activities that tend not to generally lend themselves to gentle femdom. For example, I don’t know many, if any, gentle dommes who are also into ball busting. But I’m sure there are a few out there who would tell you they feel no discrepancy between kicking a man in his family jewels and cradling him in their lap after telling him what a good job he did taking the pain.
Sadism and masochism are spectrums. A bare-handed spanking can feel sensual and tingly or really, really hurt and leave you bruised for days! A Wartenburg wheel against your skin can feel just a little stingy or, if pressed hard enough, make you bleed. And tolerance for pain tends to increase with sexual arousal, so something that might hurt a lot when you’re not very turned on can start to feel pretty damned good when you are. Personally, I enjoy the feeling of hot wax dripped on my skin, but my partner finds it painful in a very unpleasant way.
I consider myself both a gentle domme and a bit of a sadist.
I consider myself both a gentle domme and a bit of a sadist. I like getting reactions from partners, and those reactions can be whimpers or moans or pleasure or pain. Some of my favorite sadistic activities are the kind that are mean in the sense that they torment a man but that aren’t dangerous. For example, I like to tie someone up and tickle him, watching him writhe and beg for me to stop. I also love tease and denial, edging someone to just the point of orgasm and then stopping, and doing it over and over again until he’s desperate and aching to come. Then I might either take pity and let him come, ruin his orgasm, so he ejaculates but doesn’t feel the full pleasure of the orgasm, or I make him wait—which might seem mean, but some men enjoy the feeling of desperation.
So, is this really sadism? I would never do anything to a submissive partner that he really didn’t want to have done. That’s part of the agreement we make together that should be a part of all safe and ethical kink.
I’m personally less likely to beat a man until he’s severely bruised or bloody because I don’t really like it that much and because I’m a little scared of causing actual injury. But that’s my preference. And there are some activities that just seem unappealing to me, like sounding, which is sticking (hopefully sterilized) rods into someone’s urethra. To me, this seems unappealingly sadistic, and I worry about the danger of infection. However, I have talked to men who very much enjoy this kind of play and the sensations they provide.
I would say that the overall reason I believe I can be both sadistic and gentle is in the attitude I have during play.
I would say that the overall reason I believe I can be both sadistic and gentle is in the attitude I have during play. When I tickle a man until he thinks he’s dying or tease him until he wishes he was, I tend to use a playful, sweet tone of voice and focus on how good/patient/sweet/willing he’s being by allowing himself to be used as my toy for my amusement. I never denigrate him or call him worthless or use the tropes you often see in femdom porn. Why would I want to be with someone useless or worthless?
One question may be—what if my sub wants to be called useless or worthless? Some sadism is psychological and not physical. Where is the line between what is gentle and what’s not? Honestly, I don’t believe there is any clear line. Kink is a dynamic between two (or more) people, and it’s really up to them to define what it means to them personally. So, if you consider yourself to be a gentle domme, but you have a sub who like humiliation play, you just have to figure out what you are comfortable with and what you’re not. When I call my partner my cute little slut, he loves it. So, I love it too.